Setting deviation as a standard

One of the simpler ways to begin setting goals for measured improvements is to leverage the statistic known as standard deviation.  The first standard deviation (or sigma) from the mean is something which has been achieved (or exceeded) by the team at least a third of the time.  This makes the target empirically based, measurable, and demonstrably achievable even before it is set.  The goal is to move the mean to that first sigma  (above or below, depending on whether we are trying to increase or decrease the number/frequency of events).   And yes, it involves some F-stat work later to know whether that occurred, but this method also allows us to also watch the variance as it contracts to the best achievable (for current practice).

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Faith without works is dead

God does want us to work with Him; He “began a good work in” us and expects us to “go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them….” We can only do so effectively if we act in His Love, if we have that personal relationship. It is foolishly sinful to think a personal relationship with Jesus and the absence of ritual or work is Christlike. Jesus established a relationship with His fledgling Church and performed works of healing, teaching, and exorcism among the people. He himself chose to receive a ritual baptism and later told us to “do this” [the reception of His Body and Blood] “in remembrance….” Some English scripture translations use the term “vain repetition.” To act pious without His Love is an act of pride, not of fealty, but that does not demean true piety. We can use repetition in acts of love for Him even through our daily rituals of prayer before each meal. Even those simple works or rituals, which God did not require or command through scripture, help to sustain our hearts in His Grace. We must have a personal relationship with the Christ, and we must exercise that relationship through our interactions with other people.

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Ueber dem Zeitgeist


I recall a conversation with Charlie Hammons in 1999, as we worked with a company readying itself for “Y2K,” where he strongly impressesd upon me the complete artificiality of time.  Certainly time is a human construct.  Zulu, local mean solar, sidereal, even daylight savings — and those describe noticeable increments.  Time defined as motion, motion is always relative, and then we use sub-divisions of immeasurable infinity to measure finite events.

Lately I’m fascinated to juxtapose Nyquist’s rule for sampling and  the need to reduce data for reporting.   What does this tell us about ability to draw information from data?  It tells us that we have preconceived structures for data reduction, a bit of a post hoc ergo propter hoc presumption which taints our distillation as surely as copper stills both extract sulfides and impute metal to moonshine.  The misinformation from sampling too slowly cannot be undone by reduction (or might it, if the relationship between frequencies of a cyclic event and sampling were known and not harmonic?) and sampling too quickly increases the value added through reduction.

Time, the one artifice we measure but cannot create, destroy, or modify and the measure upon which so many metrics depend.  So the limit of time’s precision is the limit of measured motion.  Is eternity still?

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Forest Winter

Slight the breeze

Too light to feel

Known by its wake, raining color 

Leaves aloft and drifting down, silent until

Palmettos tap softly catching the fall






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Ewigkeit Reverie

At least thrice (all decades ago) have I been graced with some vision of eternity, and the ecstasy so extreme I grew fearful despite its beauty: experiencing the awe of awesome and awful at once. Before rising this morning, in lucid reverie and prayer, I asked for yet another. No such gift arrived, but this whisper: “If you want to see me, come to the feast.” I will go to Mass.

Of Mass?  A simple song demonstrating the communion of saints, Sanctus brings me into prayer with our lost child. Death changes life so unlike Life changed death.  So many join in this unending hymn, I for a moment, they for eternity.  Angels, saints, some from earthly time lived long and well, others from bodies destroyed and time foreshortened, born and unborn, and She, the very Queen of Heaven, with us.  A short and simple song we share.

Purgatorio.   Alighieri’s excellent work aside, imagine a place of eternal awareness of God. Here is Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Love, Peace in radiant purity. The Son and Father gaze outward, their Holy Spirit extending to all. About them a throng faces inward.  Among the uncountable, saints gaze upon the beatific vision.  Beside the saints, heads of many poor souls are bowed in contrition for an impure life; memories perfect, consequences understood, pain real amid ethereal: purgation on-going until — experiencing the endless direct fullness of Love Himself — each slowly raises her gaze to His, as a bride unveiled.  Alleluia

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What worked?

There is no single ingredient which ‘works’ to implement change.

To help a team adopt new practices, one may choose to refer to the authority of a recognized expert (argumentum ad verecundiam). The key lesson for an agent of change is humility: there are those who have gone before, pioneered this path, found it useful, and offered our maps.  Admire and acknowledge these unseen leaders before the team.

Rarely is only one method suitable.  One ought to offer the team a choice of at least two and not more than three methods, then let them both adopt and adapt.  Any of the proffered practices may be chosen, or the team may hybridize the offerings to form its own practice.  Key for the agent of change is to understand not only the practices but also the principles and purposes from which they spring.  Restrict the available choices and challenge any reformulation, will the team’s decision satisfy their need?

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